Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways that he remembers from the contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 5-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues:
The Force is strong with the St. Louis Blues, especially at home, where the team improved its record to 25-5-4 at Scottrade Center.
The most disappointing thing about tonight’s contest was the way that the Wild started the game. Off the opening draw the Wild had jump, like it could make the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs. However, the Blues weathered the storm, scored to take all of Minnesota’s momentum away and then snuffed out any of the club’s chances to build anything offensively like Darth Vader using telekinesis to crush an enemy’s windpipe.
The Wild has the day off tomorrow before facing the Phoenix Coyotes, who won in a shootout tonight, on Saturday. With the win Phoenix pulls within a point of the Minnesota in the Wild Card race. So, it goes without saying that the game is as big as the Dagobah System.
At home, the Blues resemble Tusken Raiders: ugly, aggressive and hostile to anyone attempting to settle into their territory. At every scrum, the entire line would be stirring things up, talking trash, face washing and grabbing jerseys.
In the first, Cody McCormick ran over Kevin Shattenkirk on the forecheck. T.J. Oshie saw, took exception and began to confront McCormick. Shattenkirk took advantage of the distracted McCormick and blindsided him. Then out of nowhere, Maxim Lapierre came into the scrum for a bear hug around McCormick’s waist. As he was being tied up, Shattenkirk started throwing punches at McCormick’s head.
“They're like animals, and I slaughtered them like animals. I hate them!” Anakin Skywalker yelled after slaughtering a camp of Raiders after they killed his mother. My guess is that the Wild wanted to do the same after tonight’s game.
If I were going into a lightsaber battle, I sure wouldn’t want to use a new composite hockey stick. Tonight, we saw another case of stick breaking, this time two in a matter of moments.
With the Wild shorthanded in the second period, Erik Haula and Carlo Colaiacovo were battling in the Minnesota end. Haula slashed and broke his stick on Colaiacovo’s. As shards of Haula’s stick scattered on the ice, like bits of Alderaan after it was blown up by the Death Star, Colaiacovo played the puck. But then his stick was broken, either already from the Haula slash or by a tap from Jared Spurgeon.
The newest composite sticks are ultra light, although not fit for a Jedi Knight, even if they are not as clumsy or random as a blaster. Though, you could say the one-pieces are an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.
I liked T.J. Oshie a lot more when he was wearing Red, White and Blue with the US Olympic Team in Sochi. When he was scoring goals in the shootout against Russia, he was like Luke Skywalker, a new hope. Tonight, he was Darth Maul, a wordless assassin.
First, he sucked the momentum from the Wild by scoring just after an expired Minnesota power play. Then, at the end of the first, with Minnesota on the man advantage, he stole a pass at center ice and raced in. Somehow, he squeaked it through Darcy Kuemper’s five-hole, like Luke firing proton torpedoes at the exhaust port of the Death Star in his final trench run. He finished off his hat trick by tipping in a point shot in the third. Oshie had the Jedi mind trick working on the puck tonight.
If you’re wondering why these Takeaways seemed like they were from a galaxy far, far away, it’s because it was Star Wars Night at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The Blues had Star Wars related game ops all night long. My personal favorite was a video board parody featuring Louie the Bear, the team’s mascot, replacing Princess Leia in the distress message that Luke and Obi-Wan found inside of R2-D2. Instead of a message, Louie dances to Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit.” Louie busted out old school moves like the robot, sprinkler and mashed potato while Luke and Obi-Wan looked on.
While the Star Wars theme provided plenty of fun, it was also for a good cause. The Blues sold Star Wars lapel pins with all the proceeds benefiting Variety - The Children's Charity of St. Louis, which helps children with disabilities by providing them with medical equipment, therapeutic programs and other funding.